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by ARLnow.com January 9, 2018 at 10:45 am 0

As of Jan. 1, there is a new location on your windshield for Virginia state inspection stickers.

Year 2019 inspection stickers — aka those issued in 2018 — should be placed on the lower driver’s side corner of the windshield (lower left from the inside of the vehicle), according to Virginia State Police. Existing stickers can stay where they are — the bottom center of the windshield — until they expire.

The change is “due to new innovations in the automotive industry” — namely, crash avoidance systems that need a clear line of sight at the center of the dashboard.

The new location applies to other stickers, like the Arlington County vehicle property tax decal, as well.

“This change in location will also apply to the placement of any other authorized stickers,” Virginia State Police said in a press release. “There have been no changes made to the size or appearance of the existing vehicle inspection sticker.”

“The core mission of the Virginia Safety Inspection Program is to promote highway safety and the crash
avoidance technology is another tool provided by manufacturers to ensure vehicles operated on the roadways are safe at all times,” said Capt. R.C. Maxey Jr., Virginia State Police Safety Division Commander. “Therefore, we immediately began evaluating the situation and set forth to make the necessary changes to the Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Manual, which governs the placement of the safety inspection sticker on all vehicles.”

Photo courtesy Virginia State Police

by Chris Teale January 4, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0

A local business owner is urging road users on Columbia Pike to be more cautious, after what he said is a recent spike in accidents involving cyclists.

John Harpold, who manages the Papillon Cycles bike store at 2805 Columbia Pike emailed ARLnow.com just before Christmas after one such crash.

The crash took place at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Washington Blvd on December 21 at around 9 a.m. Photos that Harpold took at the scene show a bicycle that had been bent by the impact and an SUV with a damaged windshield.

Harpold said more must be done to make the Columbia Pike corridor safer for all road users.

“These cyclist-involved accidents are bad, and increasing,” Harpold said. “These are my customers and while I waited 10 minutes to get my car free of the resulting jam, 20 cyclists negotiated the mess from this accident and there were ample opportunities for more carnage. This really is a big safety community issue for our part of Arlington, and all road and sidewalk users.”

Columbia Pike was recently the scene of a separate enforcement effort around road safety by the Arlington County Police Department, as officers cited 20 for failing to yield to pedestrians.

Photos by John Harpold

by Chris Teale December 19, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

A bill in the Virginia State Senate would require that drivers come to a complete stop when yielding to pedestrians crossing the street.

The bill, SB 46 introduced by state Sen. Barbara Favola (D), adds language to state law telling motorists what constitutes yielding to a pedestrian: “by stopping and remaining stopped until such pedestrian has safely crossed,” per the bill text.

Favola’s bill would require drivers to stop and remain stopped at the following places:

  • Clearly marked crosswalks, whether at mid-block or at the end of any block.
  • Any regular pedestrian crossing included in the boundary lines of the adjacent sidewalk at the end of a block.
  • Any intersection when the driver is approaching on a highway where the maximum speed limit is 35 miles per hour.

Language on when drivers must yield to pedestrians is included in the Virginia Criminal and Traffic Manual, but does not include the line to have drivers stop.

“Under this bill, a car would have to stop. Right now all you have to do is yield,” Favola told ARLnow.com. “So if a pedestrian is crossing and is on one half of the crosswalk, a car can go through the other half. This would make them stop completely.”

Favola’s district includes sections of Arlington County. The new legislation comes on the heels of a recent enforcement effort by the Arlington County Police Department, during which officers cited more than 30 motorists at several intersections for failing to yield.

The bill would not change the fines for violations: $100-$500 when street signs require drivers to yield and no more than $100 at crossings with shared-use paths like trails.

by ARLnow.com December 13, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

Another series of catalytic converter thefts has been reported in Arlington.

This time around, two thefts were reported on the outskirts of Rosslyn. Both occurred some time Monday morning or early afternoon.

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2017-12120142, 2017-12120130, 2500 block of 20th Road N. and 1700 block of N. Troy Street. At approximately 12:00 p.m. on December 12, police were dispatched to the report of two larceny from autos. Between 8:30 a.m. 2:45 p.m. on December 11, an unknown suspect(s) removed and stole the catalytic converters from two vehicles. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

(more…)

by Chris Teale December 8, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

The Arlington County Police Department cited 20 drivers yesterday (Thursday) on Columbia Pike for failing to yield to pedestrians, as part of an active enforcement effort.

Officers stationed themselves at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Oakland Street in Alcova Heights and an officer in a bright orange shirt crossed the street as cars in the distance started to approach. ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said they cited 20 people for failing to yield.

The enforcement effort is part of its 2017 Street Smart Pedestrian, Driver, and Bicyclist Safety Campaign. A similar enforcement by police officers took place in mid-November.

The program aims to change road users’ behavior while reducing the number of crashes and injuries. Officers ticketed motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians who violated traffic laws.

by Chris Teale November 28, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

Drivers of electric cars now have one less place to charge their vehicles in Arlington County.

A tipster reported the car charging station in the parking lot of the former Walgreens Pharmacy at 2825 Wilson Blvd in Clarendon was removed last week.

At the time it was first and only station in the county from EVgo, which owned the ports and installed them in 2013. Anyone interested in using them could buy a monthly subscription.

Representatives with EVgo did not respond to requests for further comment, but on its website, the Clarendon charging location has been removed. Other EVgo charging stations remain at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall.

Other charging stations from other companies are available in other neighborhoods, including Ballston, Rosslyn, Crystal City, Pentagon City and Shirlington.

by Chris Teale November 17, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Arlington County Police cited 11 drivers in two places earlier this week for failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage said the tickets were issued from two locations: the intersections of Washington Blvd and 4th Street N. in Lyon Park; and Columbia Pike and S. Oakland Street in Alcova Heights.

Police said the program is part of its 2017 Street Smart Pedestrian, Driver, and Bicyclist Safety Campaign from November 6 through December 3.

The program aims to change road users’ behavior while reducing the number of crashes and injuries. Officers ticketed motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians who violated traffic laws.

Officers will conduct another high-visibility enforcement effort on November 30.

by Chris Teale November 15, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Two Washington-Lee High School students suffered minor injuries after the car they were riding in hit a tree in a home’s front yard near the school.

The car hit the tree just after 11 a.m. on the 1600 block of N. Randolph Street after veering off the road. The crash occurred in the Cherrydale neighborhood, near the Cherry Valley Nature Area.

It caused damage to the front of the car, but did not appear to have caused much damage to the tree or any of the surrounding houses.

The pair were interviewed by police officers and attended to by paramedics, while startled neighbors came out of their houses to survey the scene.

by Chris Teale November 3, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

Arlington police are urging caution when buying a used car after two people tried to register one that turned out to be stolen.

Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage said the victims, who were working for a used car dealership, bought the vehicle near Richmond after responding to an online advertisement.

They found it was stolen when they tried to register it at county government headquarters, apparently not realizing before police showed up that the car was “hot.”

Savage had the following tips for anyone looking to buy a used car.

  • “Be extra cautious if the seller is out of the area. Avoid deals where the vehicle cannot be viewed in person.”
  • “Be suspicious if the seller has no fixed address, phone number or email and/or they contact you using various methods.”
  • “Meet the seller in a public place.”
  • “Compare the vehicle’s VIN listed on the vehicle title with the public VIN located on the vehicle. Utilize an online service to check the vehicle’s history report.”
  • “Ensure that the title and registration for the vehicle match the name and address of the person selling the vehicle. Ask for multiple proofs of ownership such as the vehicle’s title, insurance cards, service records, finance records which can all demonstrate long-term ownership.”
  • “Obtain a photocopy of the seller’s driver’s license or government issued ID and write down the ID number on the Bill of Sale.”
  • “Don’t pay in cash.”
  • “Trust your gut. If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

by ARLnow.com November 1, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Two people who bought a used car and went to register it at county government headquarters this past Friday received some very bad news.

Police were dispatched to 2100 Clarendon Blvd on Friday afternoon for a report of someone trying to register a stolen vehicle.

Upon questioning the person, it turns out that the pair had apparently bought the used car not realizing it was “hot.”

Police are now looking for the man who reportedly sold the stolen car. More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

RECOVERED STOLEN VEHICLE, 2017-10270211, 2100 block of Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 4:02 p.m. on October 27, police were dispatched to the report of an individual attempting to register a stolen vehicle. Upon arrival, it was determined that two individuals purchased a used vehicle and while attempting to register it, discovered the vehicle to be reported stolen out of Virginia. The seller is reported to be a black male, approximately 5’8, 160 pounds and between 27 and 33 years old. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, after the jump.

(more…)

by Chris Teale October 31, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

Arlington County should begin planning soon for the long-term growth in the use of driverless cars on its streets, says a local transportation expert.

The county has been on the forefront of research into autonomous vehicles. In August, a car that appeared to be driverless was spotted on the streets of Courthouse and Clarendon.

The following month, car company Ford revealed it was behind the vehicle’s presence, as it was partnering with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to test signalling technology and people’s reactions. (A human driver disguised as a seat was actually behind the wheel).

CNBC reports that Ford plans to bring autonomous vehicles to a test market next year, while the CEO of chip manufacturer Nvidia said fully autonomous cars will be on the roads in “no more than four years.”

And with the technology continuing to be refined, the time is now to start planning for a future with more and more autonomous cars on the streets of Arlington, according to Diana Mendes of HNTB Corporation, an architecture and civil engineering consultancy firm with an office in Shirlington.

“Arlington is a very special place,” Mendes said. “There’s a lot of thought given to land use and community and how communities are designed. It’s not too soon to start thinking about those changes so that you have the benefit of being able to reflect and then be proactive as opposed to trying to play catch-up when things start happening that you may or may not think fit with the character of the place you want to be.”

To do it, Mendes said elected officials, staff and other stakeholders must look to the future and explore how government policy and physical infrastructure can be put together. That could include making sure that the likes of crosswalks and stop lights interact with the autonomous cars to enhance everyone’s safety, or exploring how street layouts can change to adapt to the new technology.

“I think the local planning processes, community planning and master planning as well as regional transportation planning processes is a good place to start,” Mendes said. “You have your short-term improvements, but maybe we now should be spending a little more energy in those longer-term improvements to we’re not solving yesterday’s problems tomorrow. That’s the right place to start.”

But while there are planning decisions to be made, Mendes said, it will be exciting to see how the technology of autonomous cars evolves. Potentially, she said, driverless vehicles will become less like the cars we are familiar with today and may be designed to be more suited for people to get work done on the road.

“These could be portable spaces dedicated to different functions that enable people to recoup time that they would have otherwise lost in more traditional forms of travel,” she said. “I think that changes the landscape dramatically.”

by Chris Teale October 27, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

The Maserati and Fiat dealership on S. Glebe Road near I-395 is expanding.

The dealership at 2710 S. Glebe Road is being knocked down and rebuilt on the same plot of land. When an ARLnow reporter stopped by, much of the building had been demolished, except what used to be the front entrance. The building that housed the dealership used to be a seafood store.

Permitting applications filed with the county show a new one-story sales room will be built, as well as a four-story building for service and vehicle storage.

“The lot wasn’t being used to its fullest potential, so we’re expanding and adding space,” said Ethan Anderson, a spokesman for the company.

The dealership will stay open throughout the work, with employees’ offices housed in a temporary trailer nearby.

Anderson estimates the construction could take about a year to complete.

“It’s quite a project,” he said.

by Chris Teale October 24, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

Getting hit by a car seems like it would be a rare event, but it’s happened to at least three people who work in one Clarendon office recently.

None of the collisions have resulted in serious injuries, but it is nonetheless remarkable that so many people on one floor — in the MakeOffices coworking space at 3100 Clarendon Blvd — have been struck by cars in the past few months.

Zack Armstrong, who works at MakeOffices and lives nearby, told ARLnow his story. On a Saturday morning late last month, he was running along Washington Blvd near the Giant grocery store in Virginia Square when a woman struck him as he tried to cross the street.

Armstrong said it was only a minor collision, and that the driver stopped immediately, got out of her car and was hyperventilating with the shock of hitting a person. He said he was able to get right back up and walk over.

“I wasn’t really injured,” he said.

Another MakeOffices member who wished to remain anonymous said she was struck by a car and had a near-miss another time, both when she had the right-of-way at crosswalks and within weeks of each other.

The collision happened at the intersection of N. Highland Street and Clarendon Blvd, as a car turned onto N. Highland Street and clipped her as she crossed at the crosswalk. The near-miss happened as a car came too quickly out of the parking lot underneath the 3100 Clarendon Blvd office building as she crossed from beside the building.

A third person who works at MakeOffices was struck by a car in Maryland on Memorial Day, and had to wear a protective boot while her ankle healed.

Nanette Bass said she was crossing at a crosswalk when a car ran a red light and clipped her as she tried to get out of the way. The impact sent her spinning in the air, and she landed on her leg. The car did not stop.

Photos No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 via Google Maps.

by ARLnow.com October 13, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

Two juvenile suspects were arrested this past Sunday night and charged with smashing the windows of at least three cars.

Police say they responded to the 2800 block of S. Lang Street, near Gunston Middle School, around 10:40 Sunday night after a resident heard a loud sound and then went outside to find his car window smashed and two people fleeing the scene.

Police searched the area and apprehended the two juveniles, who matched the suspect description given by the victim. Officers also found two other cars with smashed windows and items rummaged through inside.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report, below.

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (VEHICLE) WITH APPREHENSION (series), 2017-10080238/226, 2800 block of S. Lang Street, At approximately 10:40 p.m. on October 8, police were dispatched to the report of a tampering with vehicle/destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined that a male victim was inside his home when he heard a loud pop. The victim went outside and noticed his car window was smashed. A witness reported two suspects fleeing the scene. Police canvassed the area and located two juvenile suspects matching the witness description. Two additional vehicles were located during the canvas with smashed windows and items inside the vehicles displaced. Petitions were sought for the juvenile suspects.

by ARLnow.com October 6, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced today a plan to fund a public electric vehicle charging network across the state.

McAuliffe’s administration has released a Request for Proposals for the network, which will be paid for with funds from a lawsuit settlement with Volkswagen, stemming from its emissions scandal.

The Commonwealth is seeking to expand the network of public fast charging stations across the state — there are currently only about 100 — to keep up with rising adoption of electric vehicles.

The RFP notes:

The average growth rate of EVs registered in Virginia from 2008 to 2016 is 35%. As of 2016, there were 4,058 EVs registered in Virginia. Assuming this historical growth rate continues, Virginia EV registrations are projected to reach 1.3 million by 2035.

More on the RFP, below, from a press release issued by the governor’s office.

Governor McAuliffe today announced the release of a Request for Proposal (RFP) to deploy an interconnected and statewide public electric vehicle charging network. The request is part of the Governor’s broader Electric Vehicle (EV) Initiative, which is aimed at driving infrastructure investments that will support an overall electric vehicle adoption rate of 15 percent by 2027, equal to approximately 1 million vehicles statewide. Funding, in the amount of $14 million, comes from Virginia’s portion of the Volkswagen settlement.

“Today’s announcement offers an exciting opportunity for the private sector to partner with the Commonwealth to drive greater deployment of electric vehicles in Virginia and I am pleased that we will be able to utilize funds from the Volkswagen settlement to support this project,” said Governor McAuliffe. “By providing the charging network citizens need to move quickly and at long distances throughout Virginia, we will make certain that electric vehicle travel in the Commonwealth is seamless. This infrastructure will also help us to reduce our collective carbon footprint and drive innovation in the new Virginia economy.”

As part of the Volkswagen settlement, which resulted from the use of emissions testing defeat devices in Volkswagen vehicles, Volkswagen is required to establish a nearly $3 billion environmental mitigation trust. Virginia is expected to receive $93.6 million from this trust, and the Commonwealth may spend a maximum of 15 percent on electric vehicle infrastructure.

“Expanding Virginia’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure will contribute to Virginia’s economic diversification by encouraging innovation in electric vehicle technology, making electric vehicle travel easier, and facilitating public-private partnerships throughout the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “This targeted and rapid deployment of EV charging stations is designed to jump-start adoption and generate more private investment in EV technology in Virginia.”

In order to develop a robust network of electric vehicle charging stations along the most-traveled portions of the state, Virginia will designate the full 15 percent, representing approximately $14 million dollars, for electric vehicle infrastructure. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the lead agency for the Commonwealth, has issued a request for proposals for allocation of the full $14 million to establish an interconnected and statewide public electric vehicle charging network. Responses to the RFP are due by 2:00pm on Monday November 6, 2017.

“The Department of Environmental Quality, as lead agency on the Volkswagen settlement, is driving an innovative program to deploy electric vehicle infrastructure,” said Molly Ward, Secretary of Natural Resources. “The transportation sector is the largest contributor to nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon dioxide emissions, so this program will also help Virginia achieve our air quality and climate change goals.”

Today, Virginia’s Direct Current (DC) fast charging network for electric vehicles consists of 100 DC fast charging stations, underscoring a significant gap in infrastructure in the state.

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